Meals-on-Wheels calling for more volunteers: Shortage of helpers due to government shutdown

Meals-on-Wheels issued a public call for new volunteers Wednesday because the federal government shutdown has resulted in a shortage of helpers from the Navy.

Meals-on-Wheels of Greater San Diego says that Navy personnel who volunteer for 19 routes, encompassing 260 deliveries, can no longer participate because of the Congressional budget standoff over Obamacare that started on Oct. 1.

With a potential solution to the shutdown near, it remains unclear how long it will be before sailors can volunteer again.

The Navy is among the largest supporters of Meals-on-Wheels in San Diego, coordinating its efforts through commands as a community service. More than 50 percent of the 2,600 seniors who receive Meals-on-Wheels in the San Diego area are veterans or the spouses of veterans, according to the organization's Facebook page.

Debbie Case of Meals-on-Wheels told local media that their own staff is filling the void and that some volunteers are working extra.

"They're doing two routes, one after another, so the seniors aren't eating on time," Case said. "And with medications and the elderly, you need to keep that consistency of times that they're going to eat."

Meals-on-Wheels held a news conference to announce an open call for volunteers. They would deliver meals to seniors in San Diego, Chula Vista and National City, giving the elderly regular, balanced meals and providing daily
human contact.

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